Winding our way up the Pan American highway through the cloud-topped Sierra Madre mountains of the western highlands of Guatemala, we headed for Xela. We were meeting an amazing group of women and would witness a defining moment for the Association of the Mam Christian Women. What started many years ago was coming to fruition. Women with years of experience, those who had been mentored, and a second generation of daughters were empowered and working together to lead a robust array of successful projects.
The Association board presented an effective annual review of their projects using a new computer and projector in brand new facilities.
Their current projects include:
- Raising and selling livestock and dairy products
- Family gardens
- Fuel-efficient stoves
- VIP latrines
- Water filters
- And a plan for a new project
What I heard and saw was the evidence of respectful and cultivated relationships, partnerships, and collaboration over many years that empowered and enabled these Mam women to change their world. I was more impressed by their collaboration in partnerships, with one another, others in Guatemala, and with the Presbytery and other churches in the United States.
Ten churches from the New Castle Presbytery and other churches in South Carolina and Georgia have supported their projects as prayer partners as well as facilitators and guides, arranging training to assist them in running their new non-governmental organization (NGO). Partners in Guatemala that have provided training include CEDEPCA, an agro-ecologist, and government agency.
And then, we prayed. Together.
We prayed together that the checks delivered by the New Castle Presbytery would be beneficial to the work, and the partnerships and continuation of the projects in 2020 and beyond. Today, I saw God in action through an amazing network of His people with an array of gifts working better—together.
Tonight, as we reflected on what we saw in the women and the projects today and the visits we will make to the communities tomorrow we remembered another experience of God and His Holy Spirit in action. We were all blessed by the warm and overwhelming hospitality of the Jesus El Camino church humbly led by our longtime friend Emerson. Posters, happy children, fireworks, a packed church, music, and stories.
We remembered the stories of triumph and pain from a pastor and his church as it sought to serve and live the salvation message daily in its community in Guatemala City. We asked him how he did it. We asked him why, and we asked if he felt fear… And then, we asked if we could pray. The pastor knelt, we placed our hands in his shoulders and waited on God.
And then, we prayed for his courage, wisdom, and protection. God our Father and the Holy Spirit came and so did the tears. We saw God in action for a courageous pastor as His humbled people prayed together. We remembered tonight, as we learned today, that we are better together for His honor and glory in Guatemala.
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14